Monday, November 21, 2016

79 - 79 is an odd number to end with. Last day!

Last day.... Feels strange, but I'm doing alright. I got to see almost everyone and get most of everyone's pictures of who I wanted, so I'm happy. Usually I don't get that luxury, but since I didn't meet many people in one transfer, it made it easier. I am satisfied how my mission has been.

We worked on trying to find. My companion at least did while on exchanges for my departure trip to the temple.

During the week we tried to teach, we were blessed with lots of less actives that we taught, again with unexpected ways of blessings. Lots of them I will miss so much! Some we visited even got close to crying because they would miss me visiting them every week. You know you impacted a person's life when that happens. I know I did my job right this transfer despite discouragements. God just needed me to help the less actives in this area more than any other work, and of course the Baker family with their spiritual journey.

Miracle of the week: My departure temple trip.
  Unfortunately, we were the last van to leave, so we got stuck in traffic behind 3 accidents (no worries, it was way far ahead of us). We joked that we could get on bikes and bike to the temple faster then driving. Mostly true for half the trip....  Sadly, we missed the session and ended up walking the halls and enjoying the new paintings of Christ they had recently hung up all around the temple, and we got to see the baptismal font. Dead silent since youth and patrons don't go at that time due to school and work. I felt the spirit so strongly just observing the area. I had been through temples during open houses, but never have I been there in a similar way while dedicated. Such a difference, you can feel the spirit and sanctity of the work that is done there so strongly. I have a big place in my heart for the baptismal font, so that was special. We then did other work which was nice then waited in the celestial room while the session was going on. Very special unusual trip, so it was worth it. Blessings come in unexpected ways.

In the end I never got to teach them another lesson due to some surprise business trips, but I got to see most of their family at church each of those weeks! But I know the next sisters will do a good job, and Sister Dimmick is still here and YSA again! We lost 18 missionaries this transfer including me going home, so they have to combine area's again.

Things came and I am still loving it! Mission accomplished!

Monday, November 14, 2016

78 - Just do your best before the end, come what may, and love it!

Email address (preferred): 

Mission address:
 Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
 California Long Beach Mission
 6500 E Atherton St.
 Long Beach, CA 90815

This week we have been Busy going around the heights area to find members (mostly people who moved out or do not contacts... at least they were nice to us) and getting lost in the dark. I saw my first coyote, they run fast... Thankfully they only appear at night usually, so we are just fine in our car, driving from place to place. We also saw LOTS of squirrels and a rabbit crossing the road. I have yet to see deer...but I think I am just fine not seeing that in my path. No animals harmed by us while driving, that would be a sad day. We have discovered "the great and spacious building" near the top of our area while getting lost one time. We also found many trail heads as well, and we just stopped and knocked doors in those areas since we figured no one has ever contacted them, and someone has to share the gospel with them or cheer them up, or do service for them. They gave us looks that confirmed our theory that no one ever visits them. At least they also were nice and some even took a picture of Christ.

Not many lessons sadly. Everyone is on vacation, business trip, or just not home this week... or sick. At least there is a new week to try new things, though.

Sister Dimmick's birthday was this week, and we celebrated with the fun balloons and party hats her parents sent her, and I surprised her with a cake made from whipped cream and Nutella as filler and frosting and some European waffle like cookies for the "cake". Then I stuck a candle on and sang her a song. Shortest party ever since we only get 1 hour for meals, but fun. We also played the popcorn popping song and bounced the balloons around during dinner for fun in true Singles Ward style... She loves that movie, so it was a funny inside joke. Then there was a ward relief society party making wooden Christmas tree decorations that we did with our investigators. They loved it! We did too.

Other than having way too much fun during dinner and lunch together baking and cooking food, we have done more knocking and contacting formers than before. At least we were able to set up future appointments for this upcoming week, that is always good. Not much else, but we talked to everyone, and that's what matters. We have noticed that everyone in our area has used their agency to the fullest extent this week, so that aside, we have done well despite our best efforts. A little discouraging, but that is OK.

I was asked to share a spiritual experience from my mission for the mission history files, so I thought I would share:
If there is one thing that helped me the most, it is realizing our purpose as a missionary. We aren't the ones that convert, and we aren't the ones that bring them to baptism. We are, however, the ones that testify of the Gospel and bring The Spirit into their homes so that he then can testify of the truths we share and help them towards God on a personal level. We are merely the vessels that God asks to bring the Gospel to others, open our mouths, and testify of Christ and how to return to our loving Heavenly Father.

I remember a time before my mission that helped me realize this concept. An acquaintance of mine once entered into a costume contest with a character little known to many. On stage, she had 45 seconds to sway the audience that her character was worth something. Unlike many others who said many words, or did dances, songs, or skits; she came on quietly and silently. Not a word was spoken, but what was said to the heart spoke stronger and truer then what anyone had said that day. Everyone was fixed on everything she did, and their were few dry eyes in the audience after she left the stage. she won the hearts of all present and the judges.

That day I learned well timed silence draws people's attention better than fancy words or songs, because The Spirit doesn't compete with noise.

We, too, bring a message to the "stage" of others,  often little known to them if at all; and we have very little time to share it with them to show it matters everything to us and to them. The Holy Ghost is the most quiet payer on the stage, and if we let him in, he will touch the hearts of those we meet and some will be fixed on every part of the message we share. Giving everyone we meet the opportunity to feel The Spirit, often times for the first time ever in their life; will give them more than any words we could ever tell. God knows each of us and loves us dearly, and will use us to bring the things they need most into their life, if we let him in, too.

Just trying to do my best before the end, come what may, and love it!

Monday, November 7, 2016

77 - The blizzard of '77 (is all they talk about in upstate NY)

Email address (preferred): 

Mission address:
 Sister Rachael Geniel Clark
 California Long Beach Mission
 6500 E Atherton St.
 Long Beach, CA 90815

Lots of last minute things I have had to do that is keeping me swamped on P-days... Like car inspection, apartment inspection... three this transfer alone... Good for the apartment at least.
No time whatsoever to do anything so I wonder if they do this on purpose for departing missionaries. Keep them busy with mandatory trainings with my plan and testimonies and departing thoughts. Busy work....

Besides that, we didn't get to teach the baker family due to illness in the family, but we saw half at church which was good. They are pushing their baptism date latter so I most likely won't be here for that sadly, but life moves on without me. I'm happy for them since they will all get baptized together as one big happy family! So cool!

We had to go get our tires checked at the mission office so we have been all over the place this week. Lost of meetings, lots of canceled appointments as well. We have been having fun despite that and had lots of time walking to contact people. I have discovered however whenever we drive I see TONS of opportunists to contact people, the moment we walk... They all disappear. Irony!

Miracle of the week: since I forgot last week.... I have three this week
1. We finally got to see sister Dunn, her parents died recently unfortunately and she told us that she felt impressed that we would come so she got up early and nicely dressed and was waiting for us to come sometime that day. I also felt impressed and since we were unable to call her first I decided to push on and see her anyways. her phone number changed so we wouldn't be able to get a hold of her anyways, so she was so happy to talk with us and be uplifted with our message!

2. A member from Pickering called us who is moving into our ward, and he wanted to have the missionary lessons to help him receive the higher priesthood, receive his patriarchal blessing, and go through the temple for himself for the first time as well. he must have been told to contact us since we usually help with this with some lessons to prepare them and he had been less active before as well. We were fasting yesterday to find a solid person to teach and god blessed us with him. It is a rare day that someone seeks us out so diligently so I was so grateful to be able to now work with him towards those blessings in his life.

3. We finally met another less active going into activity. He hit rock bottom awhile back and is slowly recovering. He recognized that he needed to go back to church and figure out who he really is. I guess you would call that a mid life crisis at 50.... He was once a CEO of some companies, then lost it all after tragic identity theft. He said though that it made him think about his life and he is now experiencing a lot of new things, like shopping, cooking, and cleaning and other daily chores.
he also asked us, if your parents could be anything they could be at around 50, what would they be? I know that there are many things I want to do with my life... I know that I can only do so many of them, so this is an opportunity for change for him. I guess you would call that a blessing to restart and experience another vocation and life all together.

It is interesting how God takes our busy lives and while we can lose everything, it opened up a better path that will give us blessings even better then we could ever imagine, it's just hard when you start on that path. May not look like much now other than a field of ashes from smoldering and burnt dreams once there. If their is one thing I have learned, God makes his finest creations from the purest thing on earth, Ashes. The refiner's fire is hard to endure, but it makes us stronger then ever! This member just had to go through it all at once. Sometimes it makes me happy I go through it slowly instead of all at once. But as usual, God NEVER gives us more than we can handle, so he must be a very strong person!

And life moves on and on. Hopefully this week with pick up a bit!